The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) has formally flagged off the 2018 main pilgrimage to Israel, Greece and Rome from Uyo International Airport, Akwa Ibom state on Saturday, 8th, December, 2018.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev. Uja Tor Uja charged the governors to send more Christians to Jerusalem to go and pray, especially for the success of the forth coming general elections in Nigeria. According to him, “Prayer has the power to transform and the capacity to change things”.
He admonished the intending pilgrims to live by the spirit of God and shun any act of misbehavior that might spoil their journey. He advised them against putting much attention on money rather they should engage in things that are more beneficial to the spirits and to the nation so that they can come back more engaging.
He further tasked them to go to Israel with a healthier mentality and God would grant them safety in travels.
He charged them to honour Christ and honour their country.
The NCPC boss called on Nigerian leaders to help decolonize Nigerians from the false mentality that living abroad is better than staying in Nigeria. His words, ‘why do I leave to become a slave in another man’s country? To this effect, he advised the intending pilgrims to desist from the temptation of absconding in Israel during pilgrimage, adding that God has chosen this country and has blessed it with abundant resources.
He stated that the Commission has put in place certain mechanisms that would discourage potential pilgrims from absconding such as the introduction of seven Million fine against any state for each person that absconds.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel who was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo stressed that pilgrimage to Jerusalem is not a jolly trip but a prayerful trip. He commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for making Uyo International Airport the hub in this part of the country.
The Governor congratulated all the intending pilgrims for their selection for this important religious event.
He affirmed that “the hope of every Christian is to get the opportunity to visit the Holy Land-Jerusalem to walk on the soil, touch the land our Lord and Our Saviour Jesus Christ had once touched, to pray at the wailing wall, to worship at the same church that our Christian progenitors had worshipped, to behold the history and the origins of our Christian faith and feel the spiritual presence and renewal of the soul”
He further informed them that pilgrimage is an important life-changing opportunity which they should and must be eminently proud and grateful to participate.
The Governor also urged the intending pilgrims to be great ambassadors of the state and the nation; “I urge you to conduct yourselves in manner and essence that will deepen your faith and bring a new vista to the schematic representation of your lives as Christians and people of faith”.
About three hundred and thirty four intending pilgrims were airlifted for the inaugural flight to Israel, made up of 74 intending pilgrims from Enugu state and the rest from Akwa Ibom state.
The NCPC aircraft Christened ‘Christ Pilgrims Nigeria’ is a Boeing 777-300 with 364 capacity, 12 First class, 42 Business class and 3/0 economy.